Let the floors begin!

With new plaster on the walls and new paint looking much better and much less institutional (insane asylum green) we have turned a corner and so begins our next phase of fun.

The floor has delivered and today installation begins or rather, it will begin when the kitchen floor is replaced with plywood as not surprisingly, it’s unusable.

This week will be the ultimate game of musical rooms where we’ll end up sleeping in the kitchen at some stage but it’s all good progress so we’re getting excited.

With the kitchen to be installed the week of February 17th, it’s one month to go (with some hefty bills to pay) but things are looking much better.

Kitchen Room Three

Last night I relocated the temporary kitchen yet again, this time into the third bedroom currently known as the Red Room for its dark red wall paper.

The red room has been our storage unit for a year with boxes piled high and a sagging clothes rack. Everything’s covered in dust and it will be the last room we touch. Now, with the addition of the kitchen set up, it’s certainly asking a lot of the red room as we boil our breakfast eggs amongst the coats.

Anyway hopefully it’s not for long as the floor guys are due in on Wednesday and then we’ll be playing musical rooms yet again.

With the eternal optimism of a fool, there’s light on the horizon as the parquet flooring arrives on Tuesday and then even more fun begins as we play the jigsaw of installation!

Can’t be pl-arse-tered

We returned from our lovely sojourn to begin work sanding and painting.

Despite our Christmas deadline, the builders hadn’t finished and were due back on January 6th. They had, however finished plastering the hall before they scuttled out on December 20th clutching a bottle of whiskey, and so with the floor installation on the horizon, we needed to get things moving.

We spent three hard days sanding, painting and cleaning the hall only to discover the quality of the plastering was not acceptable.

The lumps and bumps were more apparent after painting and so, having exhausted ourselves, wasted money on paint and lost three days where frankly we could have been having a lot more fun, we told the builder it needed to be redone.

And so with an unwelcome sense of deja vu this week has been plaster part two and I for one cannot be plarsed.

Anyway, here we go, another weekend of hard graft!

The Ring of Bells

Just down the road from Bovey Castle was a delightfully unspoiled village called North Bovey.

I say just down the road but in reality we decided to walk in pitch dark along the flooded river bank with thick mud sucking at our boots in order to go to a very nice pub for dinner.

It may have been madness but it was worth it when we stumbled into the warmly lit cottage with a mud-covered dog.

The Ring of Bells in North Bovey delivered on warmth, welcome and deliciousness as we spent a very relaxing evening by a wood burner with a plate of duck confit. The only dilemma was how to get home.

As the pub turned out to be an inn, it was tempting to get a room for the night but the castle was calling. Next time!

We decided not to walk back along the river but instead walked along the road which took way longer and was much less exciting but in hindsight was probably a better decision.

Bovey Castle

For Christmas we had decided to ensue gifts and take ourselves away for a couple of nights to live like humans. It was a very nice present and one which came at just the right time.

We had discovered Bovey Castle on Dartmoor and decided, as it was dog-friendly and had a pool and a spa that it would do the job.

From the website it looked rather traditional and so we went with expectations of pearls and tweed and we weren’t disappointed.

A large gothic mansion with a myriad of bars, dining rooms and sitting rooms, Bovey Castle is a destination for golfers, wedding parties and wealthy types in expensive cars. We pulled up in our rented Ford Fiesta and fitted right in!

We spent two nights at the castle and filled our days exploring Dartmoor.

Hunting Foxes

On Boxing Day the hunt started in the unspoiled village of Thorverton where we stayed for Christmas.

Horses, hounds, pink coats and lots of green Barbour jackets captured the moment as the riders drank a stirrup cup and everyone else looked on with envy.

It was a taste of English tradition as the commoners were all on foot and the landed gentry, portly and red of face were mounted on horseback. Two legs good, four legs bad perhaps?

There were a few protesters who insisted on shouting during the tally ho and while I have no wish to appear unsympathetic towards Reynard, there are over 300,000 urban foxes in London (most of whom seem to live in our gardens) so I think we can afford to lose a couple.

Regardless of the class system, we enjoyed it immensely and having rescued Agnes from the interest of an enormous hound, it was very exciting watching the hunt leave the village.

Our next stop was a castle on Dartmoor!